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I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my very much under control adult onset asthma that suddenly flared up big time.  I consider that I have somewhat mild asthma that is allergy induced and has been so under control since diagnosis about 10 years ago, that I sometimes even forget to carry an inhaler.

My asthma flare up two weeks ago kept me from using my bipap for a couple of nights (extreme feeling of suffocating) and sent me to the emergency room one night.  My pulmonary specialist ended up putting me on prednisone (yuck) which I am weaning off of right now.

All of these breathing/sleeping problems started just a couple of days after the delivery of my new Tempurpedic bed and pillows to my Florida home.   I wanted an adjustable bed because with my OSA I am more comfortable sleeping at a slight incline. 

I am pretty positive that the noxious fumes given off by these Tempurpedic beds is what set off my asthma and put me into a health spiral.  I have been away for about a week (thankfully) and even after a week of airing out,  I could smell the fumes as soon as I walked into my bedroom yesterday.

These beds and mattresses should come with a warning label!!!  I am doing all kinds of things to get rid of the fumes right now...and if I have a continuing problem, I'll take further action.

I've since done more research and have found that this is a known problem, though unfortunately my original research didn't turn up this issue.

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Steven should have a PhD in mattresses. If anyone can help you out of this bind, it's him.

Jan said:
Steven, thanks for all of that information. Very helpful. I've aired the mattress out thoroughly and I was told by someone that walking on it would help to "push the chemicals" or smells out. I slept on it last night with no ill effects and am airing it out again today (uncovered it and have strong fans blowing on it). Since the notion seems to be that some of these chemicals are ubiquitous-- I'm wondering if at this point I should think of replacing the mattress or if the worst is over. Any thoughts?

Steven said:
The Tempur mattress is made up of two types of polyurethane foam. A standard, mid-density material and a visco-elastic poly (visco-elastic or "memory foam" is a polyurethane with a petrochemical slowing agent). Polyurethane foam consists of two main ingredients, Polyol and TDI. TDI stands for Toluene diisocyanate (spell check was no help on that). Both chemicals are known to cause respiratory distress (search "diisocyanate asthma"). The two foams are attached with an adhesive which is also potentially volatile (unknown glue). The cover of the Tempur used to be, and may still be, backed with a PVC coating (polyvinyl chloride) which is also linked to asthma as well as a myriad of other problems (I haven't looked at one of their covers for quite a while but last I knew it was still there). Buying a mattress is hard enough without having to worry about toxins. Sorry to hear about your trouble and apologies if you've already heard all this. I do agree that they should have to warn people with asthma and breathing problems about the potential risks involved with volatile components. They also are not the only ones, however---polyurethane and vinyl are ubiquitous (especially in hospitals!!) and are found in most every conventional mattress, couch or upholstered chair.
Thanks Michael. It's a hard call with the mattress and I wouldn't pretend that there is an easy answer. I have heard that foam "rollers" which pre-compress foam, do expedite out-gassing but I'm not 100% sure, so maybe crushing it does help. The "poly-lobby" would have you think that the finished foam does not out-gas and that these chemicals are not available to breathe while sleeping but there is also research and opinion to the contrary(example link below). Some info talks about the release of toxins actually increasing as the foam ages. It's like global warming or cholesterol...At the end of the day (no pun intended) you have to ask yourself if you are comfortable with the product and If it's affordable to walk away from it. I still eat cheeseburgers and sell natural mattresses, what's worse? :) If you ever want help with mattress questions send me a line or call@(510) 841 5340 and we can chat about it. Phd in mattresses! I'm getting a lab coat and writing illegibly from here on out!
I bought a Tempur-pedic mattress. From the very first night I felt like I was being drugged, the sleep was not restful and I awoke more tired than when I went to bed. I began to have flu-like symptoms which got worse. Within two weeks I was so ill I almost couldn't go to work. I sneezed at work and got a nose bleed. Hadn't had one in years.

My symptoms were nausea, headache, mental confusion, lack of energy. I googled on toxic fumes and Tempur-pedic and a number of websites popped up with similar stories. Engineers in the field call it the "Chemical Flu." It is known, but the public doesn't know about it.

Some people, such as myself, react strongly to the VOC's emitted by these mattresses. I feel lucky that I reacted so quickly and returned it. With the mattress out of the house, I am getting better every day. However, I wonder about people who don't react so quickly. They may not be able to make the connection that the new mattress they bought is what is making them ill. Six months later, are they diagnosed with Fibromyalsia or Chronic Fatigue syndrome?

I am only posting this for one reason. Please be aware that that this type of mattress does emit toxic fumes. BE AWARE!

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